What do I wear while in labor?

When you are writing your birth plan and prepping for the big event have you thought about what you are going to wear? Now its not a red carpet event per se but you certainly can decide what you want to wear while in labor.

What wardrobe options are there?

1- The hospital gown.

This option may be presented to you as soon as you enter triage. These usually all have snaps on the top so that they pull down easily for that skin to skin time after birth. They also are easy to take on and off. There is a huge perk to the hospital gown! If you don’t want to get any of your own items messy or wet you don’t have to worry about it! The hospital laundry is not your problem. They also are sometimes warm! Hospital gowns are usually very easy to maneuver around any IVs or monitoring. The downsides are they aren’t always super soft, and bottom line they aren’t your clothes.

2- Your own delivery gown.

There are a lot of varieties and brands of gowns now available. These typically open at the belly, have easy access for skin to skin time, and may mimic the shape of a traditional hospital gown. People like their own gowns as they may be softer and more comfortable. They also can be so much prettier! It doesn’t hurt to feel good about what you are wearing, even in labor. The bottom line here is they are your clothes. Birth can be such a vulnerable time that for some wearing something that is 100% your own feels empowering. These can range in price and be found in various online stores. Some examples can be found at Target, or this popular brand Pretty Pushers.

3- Sleepwear/Lounge-wear you already have on hand.

If you are interested in wearing your own clothes but don’t want to buy anything new check your drawers!

There are some points to consider when picking out your comfy labor clothes. You will want to make sure there is easy access to the belly area. Whether you will be monitored continuously or intermittent the belly will be exposed from time to time. This isn’t a great time for a romper or onesie. Eventually in labor pants or shorts seem futile, I mean the baby has to come out eventually 😉 Picking a dress/gown style of lounge wear can offer more coverage while having no bottoms. And lastly easy access to the chest for immediate skin to skin bonding time as soon as your baby is born. If the top can be simply pulled down that is all you need! Nursing sleep bras, nursing nightgowns, or a thin robe are great for this.

Keep in mind as labor is unpredictable you may change your mind during labor on what you want to wear. Your clothes may get wet due to using the tub or shower. And you may simply wind up naked. It is actually common to shed layers as labor progresses. Everyone in the birth room is used to it but you can absolutely maintain however modest you would like to be. This is something you can discuss with your Labor Doula as well so they can help keep you covered.

Pro-tip: If using the tub or shower as a coping option think about what you would want to wear in there. It is a good idea to bring a back up for that clothing item. Once it is wet you may not want to leave it on or put it back on later! Often the birthing person is bottomless with a sports bra, bra, or bathing suit top on.

So when it comes to what to wear in labor knowing your options is great! And you have choices!

Authored by Andrea Stainbrook

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